During today’s consideration of 2024 budget estimates for the Ministry of Health, Minister Dr. Frank Anthony revealed a robust plan for the expansion of disability and rehabilitation services across the country, as he faced intense scrutiny from opposition Member of Parliament, Dr. Karen Cummings.

Dr. Cummings directly questioned the set target of 12,000 individuals accessing rehab services in 2024, a notable reduction from the target of 21,616 in 2023. “How did you arrive at this target, and does it suggest a decrease in those seeking rehabilitation services?” queried Dr. Cummings.

The Minister did not indicate whether there has been a decrease in those seeking rehabilitation services, but instead responded with a detailed account of the ministry’s efforts to expand rehabilitation services, stating, “We’ve established additional centres, ensuring every regional hospital now has a physiotherapy department. Our objective is to exceed the 21,000 target set for 2023.” He emphasized ongoing construction efforts, allocating dedicated spaces in new facilities for a variety of rehabilitation services.

Furthermore, Dr. Anthony elaborated on the Ministry’s commitment to inclusivity in its programmes, stating, “We have been expanding the audiology department so that we can provide more services to people. last year. We did. So last year, we assisted more than 1000 persons who needed hearing aids. And we have been providing a lot of services for people who need speech therapy and a whole host of other things”.

In response to Dr. Cummings’ inquiry about the Ministry of Health’s strategy for meeting the rehabilitation services target, Minister Dr. Frank Anthony outlined a multifaceted approach. He highlighted, “The services are now more expanded, and we are recruiting people as well.” Notably, he shared a significant development, stating, “Last year, the University of Guyana graduated eight persons, and we recruited all of them into the programme.”

Dr. Anthony also stressed that the ministry has taken a proactive stance in addressing the growing demand for rehabilitation services with its expansion plan encompassing not just facility construction, but personnel recruitment, and a widened service spectrum.


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